US new unemployment claims enjoy second December drop

 
Ben Southwood
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NEW CLAIMS for unemployment insurance fell back again in the first full week of December.

Seasonally adjusted initial claims dropped 29,000 to reach 343,000 in the week ending 8 December, the Department of Labor said yesterday. This reflected a bigger than seasonally usual fall in the underlying claims, bringing them from 500,931 last week to 428,814 – just under the 435,863 they reached in the same week in 2011.

And total insured unemployment came down with new claims, hitting 3,198,000 on the headline seasonally adjusted number during the week ending 1 December, down 23,000 on the week before and 411,000 on the year before.

Retail sales data was also cheery. November sales totalled $412.4bn (£255.6bn), the US Census Bureau said, a rise of 0.3 per cent compared to October and a full 3.7 per cent above the sales seen during November 2011.

Separate data from the Census Bureau had a less positive message, though for the previous month. Distributive trade sales and manufacturing shipments summed to a total value of $1.26 trillion in October, the data showed. Though this was a 0.4 per cent fall compared to September, it represented a 3.1 per cent jump compared to a year before.